NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
Cal State Northridge softball head coach Tairia Flowers has announced the signing of eight student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to begin play with the Matadors in the 2014 season. Rebecca Bell, Madison Fleming, Taylor Glover, Katie Hooper, Tara Kliebenstein, Taylor Nate Daphne Pofek and Carissa Sherman all bring extensive and successful amateur careers to Matador Diamond.
"We're excited to add such a diverse and talented group of young women to the Northridge family," Flowers said. "This class features an array of offensive and defensive talent that will excel across the diamond and throughout the line-up."
Bell, whom goes by Becca, is a 6-1 pitcher/first baseman from Ridgecrest, Calif., attends Burroughs High School and plays her club ball for Fury and head coach Tom Santos. She earned all-league honors following the 2012 season and has been an honor roll student in high school. According to Flowers, she adds a powerful bat to the middle of the Matadors' order.
"Becca is a strong young woman who we hope will be a fixture in the middle of our line-up," Flowers said. "She possesses good discipline as well as power and carried the top batting average on her team last year."
Fleming is a 5-4 middle infielder from nearby Moorpark High School. She plays her club ball for Bownet and head coach John Ashley. She earned all-county first team honors and was her high school team's MVP following the 2012 season. She also earned all-league honors twice and led her league in home runs in 2012.
"Maddie is the epitome of a the term 'utility player.' She can play anywhere on the diamond," Flowers said. "She is a fierce competitor who should add depth to our line-up. She also has good speed and is a two-way threat offensively."
Glover is a 5-7 outfielder from Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, Calif. She plays her club ball for Nemesis and is a five-tool player who has speed, a strong arm, good defensive range and can hit for both average and power.
"Taylor brings a presence and swag to her game that will infuse the team with leadership and energy," Flowers said. "She's a left-handed hitter who can do a lot of things very well and backs up her talk with her play on the diamond."
Hooper is a 5-7 utility player from Burbank High School and the SoCal Sliderz, where she plays for Ron DePompa. Hooper has excelled in volleyball, soccer and softball while at Burbank HS. She was named her softball team's Offensive Player of the Year after the last two seasons and has earned all-league honors in all three sports. She also earned All-CIF Division III First Team honors in softball after the 2012 season.
"Katie is a tremendous athlete with great passion who will help raise the level and expectations of the program," Flowers said. "She is truly a multi-sport talent whom also excels in the classroom."
Kliebenstein is a 5-6 middle infielder from Oceanside, Calif., and El Camino High School. She plays her club ball for TNL and head coach Jerry Dellameter. According to Flowers, Kliebenstein brings good speed and adds athleticism and a competitive nature to the Matadors' line-up and middle infield.
"Tara is a quick athlete who competes to the fullest every time she puts on the uniform," Flowers said. "She has a high ceiling based on her athletic ability and I expect her to excel as an outstanding talent on both offense and defense."
Nate is the lone signee to hail from outside California, coming to CSUN from Meridian, Idaho. She attends Rocky Mountain High School and plays her club ball for the Boise Blast and head coach Martin Godina. A 6-0 catcher, Flowers, who is a former backstop herself, expects Nate to compete for the position immediately upon arriving on campus.
"Taylor creates plays and has a great command of the game from her position behind the plate," Flowers said. "She's a classic middle of the line-up power hitter, but she also has good speed that will allow her to leg-out infield hits."
Pofek is a 5-9 right-handed pitcher from Martin Luther High School in Moreno Valley. Like Fleming, she plays her club ball for Bownet and head coach John Ashley. In the circle, Pofek is a pitcher who has multiple tools to confuse and befuddle batters. She earned all-league honors and was her team's offensive MVP following the 2012 season.
"Daphne is a talented young pitcher who we are very excited to work with and watch develop," Flowers said. "She has good command and the ability to use different speeds and angles to create outs. She also has the ability to be a threat in the batter's box as well."
Finally, Sherman is a 5-5 outfielder from Edison High School in Costa Mesa. She plays her club ball for the Jets and head coach Craig Pearce. Before competing with the Jets, she was a member of the Worth Firecrackers who finished as runners-up at Premier Nationals.
"Carissa is a left-handed slapper who has excellent speed and experience at the highest levels of club ball," Flowers said. "She has a knowledge of the game that is rare for a young woman her age."
The eight-woman class will join the Matadors in the 2013-14 academic year. Before then, the 2013 Northridge softball program will start its season with five games at ASU's Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., from Feb. 8-10.